What do you imagine it means to be wise? Do you think it means having easy answers to difficult questions? If you dig deeper, you may decide that wisdom is something more. The poet T.S. Eliot weighed in on the subject in his famous “Choruses from The Rock” in 1934: “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” You may even have read these lines in a high school or college literature class. Let’s consider what Eliot ‘s quote might mean for someone seeking greater success and self-empowerment today.

The TMI Blues

We’re all inundated on a daily basis with information from print and electronic media, friends, co-workers and other sources in our environment. Some of it is meant to manipulate us and some is benign. Information overload and TMI (too much information) are common expressions depicting our present state of affairs. To remain empowered on a path of conscious, creative evolution, we need to take control. This means sifting through our daily input and experiences to arrive at what feels essential to the development of our most conscious and soul-centered selves. Eliot’s quote is a plea to distill raw information into knowledge and knowledge into its purest form, wisdom.

The Inner Process

Let’s turn now to inner wisdom. Within each of us is a world of mental material, or information, comprised of impressions, emotions, thoughts, creative impulses, awakened insights, blocked denials and every other imaginable component of the invisible human condition. To become more fully awake and empowered, we need to shed light on what’s inside and take responsibility for distilling it into wisdom we can live by. This process is easier than it sounds, especially with practice and guidance. Below are a few suggestions that may help.

The Arts

Whether singing in the shower, scribbling random thoughts, or dancing in front of the mirror, creative actions can be harnessed to bring you in tune with your inner wisdom. If you have a particular issue you need to reflect on, try stream-of-consciousness singing, dancing, painting or journaling to work through non-essential influences that may be clouding your thoughts. It’s best to do this exercise alone so you feel less inhibited. Learn not to judge yourself; this exercise is not about producing great art but about self-discovery. If you are right-handed, you might try writing or painting with the left hand to see if different emotions or insights are evoked. While singing or dancing, try different characters and voices, and try to recognize your authentic self among these.

Meditation

Ancient wisdom systems worldwide teach us that inner wisdom is accessible through meditation. Once you are quiet, centered, and relaxed, it is possible to dive deeper within, letting go of extraneous thoughts and coming to an essential experience of what is true for you. Meditation is both a process and a state into which we can enter to access wisdom within to live a more fulfilled life.

Visualization

Perhaps you have a visually oriented mind. If so, intentionally form images that can help you in your process. For example, imagine non-essential thoughts and information floating away with the steam as you boil your experiences down to an exquisite sauce as fine as any French chef can create. This sauce is your inner wisdom. Imagine savoring it and receiving sustenance from it as you carry on with your life.

Affirmation and Intention-Setting

For some, a simple affirmation such as “I choose to become still and listen to the wisdom within me” is enough to clear the inner path. Develop affirmations and intention statements that best trigger this outcome for you.

Detection and Recognition

If you orient more towards outer reality, practice noticing synchronicities and blockages that occur as you proceed with your daily life. For example, if you are stuck in traffic, think about the wisdom of your errand. Is it advisable for you? Sometimes, the answer is no; sometimes, the answer is to persevere at all costs. Only by inner reflection will you arrive at the best answer for you.

A Few Closing Thoughts

Although you may feel more comfortable with some of these techniques than with others, try a new approach from time to time. More importantly, once you feel comfortable connecting to inner wisdom, learn to trust it. Follow the guidance your inner wisdom provides, and execute wise decisions that bring you to each new step in your journey to success.